'How To Tell If Online Voting Systems Are Good For Democracy' by Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay for The Bastion Based on the interim report, Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay has written an article for The Bastion on the framework for evaluating technological interventions in th… more
In recent years, electoral processes, results and integrity of the results have been the focus of heated discussions. Alongside this, there have been continuous collaborative efforts to determine the security of the technology along with impact on rights, privacy and data governance. The various reports around the prototyping of blockchain based technology to be used for elections in India provide a perfect opportunity to examine the topic and acquire sufficient insights.
Many countries are exploring and experimenting a set of different approaches to enable more streamlined voting that is secure, efficient and auditable. As part of the conference, we will discuss some of the following topics:
- Challenges in transitioning traditional and established voting processes to more digital and auditable models.
- Examining the approaches and experiments underway (in other countries) to better understand technical, social and rights centric challenges.
- How to examine and evaluate the various technology choices being made specific to electoral processes.
- A framework with which to examine technology choices and policy decisions.
- Knowledge about the key challenges being addressed by various countries, researchers and governing bodies as they seek to make the transition to digital technologies.
A topic of this nature is designed to appeal to the widest cross section of the audience, including:
- Researchers and practitioners at the intersection of technology, rights and data.
- Cybersecurity and data security practitioners and experts.
- Policy designers who are engaged in developing the guidelines for the transition.
- Organization leaders who have elections on a smaller scale as part of the governance processes, and seek to examine new approaches.
- Journalists and columnists who write about current affairs and politics.
This list is indicative, and not exhaustive:
- Experts undertaking research and development on voting related technologies.
- Academic researchers examining the impact of technology interventions in electoral processes.
- Cybersecurity researchers and experts.
- Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay
- Dr. Syed Taha Ali, teacher at NUST; information security practitioner.
- Maansi Varma and Praavita of Article 21 Trust
Contact details: For information about speaking and participation, leave a comment on Comments Page. The organizing team will get back to you.
How Data Transforms Elections
We’ve all heard the phrase “data is the new oil”. There are few fields where this is as true as it is in politics. New age campaign methods use voting data extensively to build campaigns and shape the thoughts of voters. This in itself isn’t bad, but it becomes so when the data is so granular that it allows for micro-targeting of voters along caste and community lines, and when it can be used to systematically disenfranchise voters who are statistically unlikely to vote for a particular political party. This talk will explain some of the ways in which political parties use data in their campaigns, and how that would manifest in a world of electronic voting and blockcahins in elections.
Shivam Shankar Singh is a data analyst, campaign consultant and author of the bestsellers, How to Win an Indian Election (Penguin, 2019) and The Art of Conjuring Alternate Realities (HarperCollins, 2021). He started out in politics as a Legislative Assistant to a Member of Parliament (LAMP) Fellow and went on to witness the process of conjuring political realities while managing data analytics for some of India’s largest political parties.
He is a panelist on national television and writes for several news publications on data and politics. He graduated from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor with a Bachelor of Science in Economics and is a 2021-22 Schwarzman Scholar.